The British car industry is expected to manufacture more cars in the coming years than since its peak in the 1970s.
The UK car industry will hit a new peak by 2017, higher than its previous record high in 1972, as the continuing growth of export markets such as China and the increasing interest in British cars boosts production, the country’s car industry body said on Monday.
British automakers are expected to manufacture around 1.95m vehicles in 2017, exceeding the current record of 1,921,311 set in 1972, said Michael Hawes, chief executive at the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Limited (SMMT), at a media briefing.
“The outlook for the car manufacturing sector continues to be upbeat. More than a quarter of a million cars have been made in Britain so far this year – a steady performance, which has been led by a strong domestic market,” continued Hawes.
“The UK’s appetite for British-built cars has consistently grown, with the number of cars produced for the home market increasing 51.9% since 2011. However, political instability abroad has hit certain export areas which will invariably have a small impact on total output.”
Data showed that Britain has seen consecutive growth in car manufacturing over the past three years. Last year, the country produced 1.53m vehicles.
Hawes also commented the expectation depended on whether the exports markets continued to grow, including the main markets like Europe and Asia, especially China.
Meanwhile, the other main contributors would be the strong growth of the domestic market, growing investment and increasing interest in British models abroad, added Hawes.
Hawes said China is currently the UK’s largest single export market for cars. Compared with 2009, the volume of exports to China increased by 608% to reach 137,410 in 2014, according to Hawes.
Earlier this year, Bentley announced that China was acting as the main engine behind its sales growth, with 2,670 cars delivered in 2014, higher than the 2,191 in the previous year.
Jaguar Land Rover sold 122,010 cars in China last year, up 28% from 2013. The company also cited the Chinese market as the primary reason for its fifth successive year of growth in global sales.
The automotive industry is vital to the British economy; it contributes an annual turnover of over £60bn. Around 770,000 jobs depend on the industry. Exports markets are also critical to its development, as the industry exports 80% of its vehicles every year, SMMT figures showed.